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Darfur holdout group strengthens military capacity thanks to gold mining


Local miner shows gold produced in Torroye of Jebel Marra area (UN photo)
January 19, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The holdout Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) has strengthened its military capability thanks to the significant goldfields in a rebel-controlled area in Jebel Marra, said a recent report by a UN panel.

According to a report released by the UN panel on Sudan on 14 January seen by the Sudan Tribune, the discovered goldfields are located in Torroye, between the villages of Feina and Kidineer, south-eastern Jebel Marra.

"As a result of the revenue generated from the mining operations, the movement has been able to strengthen its military capability by acquiring new weapons and ammunition from local militias and engaging in a recruitment drive," further said the independent experts.

The SLM-AW has rejected calls to join talks for peace in Darfur brokered by South Sudan. Nonetheless, the group recently announced they would launch a new initiative for peace from inside Sudan and accused those who are in Juba of seeking positions not a genuine solution of the 17-year conflict.

The report said the SLA-AW commanders supervise the mining operations by the residents and collect 25% of the revenue generated by the artisanal miners.

The gold mining has considerably improved the financial situation of the rebel group and gave them the means to open a training centre for recruits has been set up in the Torontonga area.
, according to the report.

" According to rebel sources, it is currently hosting about 150 trainees, recruited from among former fighters and internally displaced person," says the panel.

Government’s concern

The Sudanese authorities were concerned by the recent developments in the rebel-held area and sought to control the gold mining to deprive the SLM-AW of this source of financing.

Also, the discovery of the goldfield triggered local tension as rebels, security forces and militias competed for its control. An altercation between the miners and Sudanese military personnel in Kindingir, in the East Jebel Marra locality, on 28/29 September resulted in the death of two people.

Following what, the acting Governor of South Darfur decided to stop the mining activities in the Mershing area, between East Jebel Marra and Alwehda localities, including Kidingir.

"He stated that the area, where 270 kg of gold had been produced in two months, had become a security threat to the entire region of South Darfur.28 The decree resulted in the closure of the mining operations in Kidingir".

However, the mining operations continue in Torroye at present according to the report " and SLA/AW continues to make a profit from such operations".

In the past report, and this year, the panel focused on the mercenary activities of the Darfur armed groups in Libya and how they are allowed to keep arms and ammunition they capture during the clashes in the troubled north African country.

The experts this year, also, focused on the business activities developed by the SLM-AW in South Sudan.

The report said SLA-AW commanders developed various activities in South Sudan in cooperation with Dinka businessmen in Pariang area.


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  • 20 January 08:18, by Fathi

    Abdel Wahid is a trouble maker. He smuggles the gold to Israel. He isn’t interested in peace.

    • 20 January 09:06, by Fathi

      If you really want to assess how much the international community (specifically Troika [US, UK, Norway] + France) support Sudan, don’t take humanitarian "aid" as an indicator. Peace is the #1 indicator of how much they truly support Sudan.

      • 20 January 09:27, by Fathi

        The US, UK, Norway, & France have never been genuinely critical & taken action action against Abdul Wahid. There should’ve been sanctions and threats to freeze assets for not participating in peace talks.

        • 20 January 09:33, by Fathi

          Our PM respectfully went to meet with him directly in person at France. Abdul Wahid said he met with PM Hamdok "not in his capacity as prime minister, but in his personal capacity as a Sudanese figure." He reasoned by saying his problem isn’t with Hamdok but with the military in the transitional government.

          • 20 January 09:42, by Fathi

            That’s understandable, but the issue is that by undermining transitional government, he is undermining a peaceful transition to democracy and increasing the chances of a coup occuring. Also, delegitimizing Hamdok weakens the civilian influence/power on the military reps within transitional government.

            • 20 January 09:50, by Fathi

              Furthermore, the US claims SST delisting is also tied to the outcome of peace talks in Sudan. Without SST delisting, our economy will struggle to improve. Moreover, the SST makes Sudan lean on gulf for financial assistance. Gulf assistance tends to be tied to dictatorship, so assistance will likely be minimal.

              • 20 January 09:57, by Fathi

                If conditions continue deteriorating, it could lead to a counter revolution which could pave way for a secular janjweedi Hemdti & Burhan dictatorship. Then that’s when the real gulf $ will come which will improve the economy, minimize resistance, & legitimize their rule.

                • 20 January 10:29, by Fathi

                  Even though it’ll be secular gov, will armed groups accept another dictatorship or will it lead to civil war, ending with secession of parts of Darfur? US SST delisting probably won’t be removed until Darfur is carved. Does AW think he’ll be king of of Darfur? Is he using this gold to pay for his penthouse in France?

                  • 20 January 10:32, by Fathi

                    I’ve been suspicious of this guy ever since I found out he opened his SLA-AW office in Israel 2008. He even said if he was president he would support Israel having an embassy in Sudan. Since 2001, Abdul Wahid has spent more time outside Sudan than he did inside Sudan.

                    • 20 January 10:40, by Fathi

                      They say his poor leadership led to over several factions breaking away from his group. They now all have different demands, making it extremely difficult to achieve a peace deal. Abdul Wahid is not serious about peace. He refused participation in the Abuja peace talks and post Abuja peace talks. He now still refuses peace talks.

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